Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6.26.12 Bee-otch of the Day: radio stations still carrying Bob and Tom

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on Chuck69.com.


Name: various radio stations
Age: various
Occupation: entertainers and communicators of the community
Last Seen: everywhere
Bee-otched For: STILL carrying Bob and Tom


Once upon a time, or better yet, 15 years ago, northern Michigan had two rock stations: AOR stalwart WKLT and Classic Rock triplecast WGFM.

'GFM originated at 105.1 in Cheboygan and was simulcasted to 98.1 in Traverse City and 107.1 Cadillac. The stations' morning man was Del Reynolds, who also owned the stations, plus a few others in the Straits area and all throughout northern Michigan. Middays were handled by Greg Fletcher, Deb Michaels did the afternoon shift and nights and overnights were straight off the bird, using Westwood One's Classic Rock format.

However, in 1998, Reynolds decided to sell his stations to a small upstart company called Calibre Communications. When the company's president, David Gariano asked Reynolds who should handle mornings, he told Gariano that Bob and Tom had just entered syndication and that their careers started at the long-defunct WJML in Petoskey.

Needless to say, Reynolds' suggestion was a winning one in the beginning. Bob and Tom quickly became the #1 morning program in northern Michigan, and helped WGFM - now rebranded as The Bear - overtake WKLT's #2 spot in the Arbitron ratings.

When Bob and Tom debuted on The Bear, I was a teen living in the Torch Lake region, and man did I hate them. I was a Howard Stern guy who loved him from his E! show and yes, Private Parts and felt that these two geezers were just doing a carbon copy of the show to drunk rednecks. As a matter of fact, it was one of the big reasons why I started a crappy little WebTV website called Bring Howard Stern to Northern Michigan Radio and TV which evolved into (you guessed it) this crappy little website.

But how time passes. I've since moved to Grand Rapids, Howard Stern's now on northern Michigan via SiriusXM (and let's not forget HowardTV and America's Got Talent) and thanks to Janet Jackson's little nip-slip, Bob and Tom - like all other shows syndicated by Clear Channel - have had to cool it with their bits.

Oh, and KLT finally hired a morning show that finally gave Bob and Tom some needed competition: Omelette and Finst - um, Friends.

While Omelette and whoever tend to act and feel young, not to mention the fact that they're local, Indianapolis-based Bob and Tom are showing their age. According to some sources, KLT is trumping Bob and Tom in the mornings, although B&T are still in second place.

But the question is: is second place good enough for a morning show that's balls-out expensive?

Recently, Del Reynolds - who re-took control of most of the stations he sold to Calibre in 1998 for a tiny fraction of the price he sold them for - took to the popular Michigan Radio and TV Buzzboard to reveal that Bob and Tom ain't cheap to air. As a matter of fact, he claims that for the four stations that air The Bear's format, Bob and Tom cost his stations a hair over six figures just to air in a mid-small-sized market like northern Michigan.

That's right! $100,000 to air a crappy sat-fed morning show in northern Michigan. Somewhere, WKLT's staff and management are laughing. Hell, even I'm smiling inside knowing that it's more expensive to air a horrid syndicated show over just hiring two local guys to handle mornings.

But it's not just The Bear that's seeing less dollars coming in thanks to Bob and Tom's high price. Here in Grand Rapids, Clear Channel-owned WBFX - 101.3 The Fox carried the show up until a few years ago, but canned it due to its high cost. Yes, even Clear Channel - who owns Bob and Tom - has canned the show because of its cost. However, Townsquare-owned 98.7 WFGR took over the show; which is somewhat ironic since they also own 97.9 WGRD, the home of Free Beer and Hot Wings. However, there's another rumor that even Townsquare themselves are tired of B&T; there was speculation in the radio world that Townsquare flipped 1410 WNWZ from Spanish to all-Comedy as "Funny 1410" to move Bob and Tom there until their contract ran out. Clear Channel got word and put an end to it.

Oh, and 1410 broadcasts with a whopping 1,000 watts day and 48 watts at night. I guess they were trying to make a play from the Matt Hanlon playbook in regards to what he did to Howard Christmas 2003 only to fall on their asses.

Ya know, I find it funny that when Howard was on terrestrial radio, only 50 stations - mostly corporate-owned stations in bigger markets - ever dared to carry the show. I've heard every excuse in the book: "His show's too expensive!" "Advertisers hate him!" "The Chamber of Commerce will abandon us!" "His show doesn't reflect the views of station management!" And so on. Now, many top-ranked syndicated shows like Bob and Tom and especially Rush Limbaugh are now charging stations top dollar to carry their crappy programs, and the real victims end up being the station owners and people trying to break into the already-difficult world of radio. Yes, some of these owners will fight to the finish to keep their listeners and ratings up. In The Bear's case, it explains why that station only has one local jock in the afternoon and the rest of the schedule is made up of out-of-state voicetrackers from Dial Global (the old Westwood One).

If only they got Finster.... 
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